What a Month! It's Ben (December 2022) — Chicago, New York, Arizona, and West Virginia

published11 months ago
3 min read

Happy New Year!!

I just got back to Chicago after ringing in the new year in Thomas, West Virginia. While Chicago’s been home base for the past month, I’ve popped out and done a bit of travel; to the aforementioned West Virginia, but also to see friends in New York City and visit my grandparents in Scottsdale. For details, read on below!

Chicago + Professional Exploration

I moved from Chicago to Austin last October and have only gone back for a few days at a time since. It felt nice to be back for the month of December and to spend quality time with both family and the Chicago friends that I hadn’t seen in far too long.

Last month I decided to transition from “founder” to “joiner” for the next chapter of my career. So I spent my days lining up conversations with founders, people operations professionals, and organizational design specialists to learn more about various professional pursuits.

I want to give a huge thank you to everyone that’s spent time chatting with me and connecting me with folks. With every conversation I learn something valuable about the roles and companies that interest me, and several chats have unearthed potentially exciting opportunities. I look forward to digging in more formally this month as I work to line up my next gig 😊

New York ➡️ Arizona ➡️ West Virginia

Over the past two years, so many friends from different parts of my life have converged upon New York City. So I flew out there on December 15th and spent my next six days crashing on various couches and zipping around the subway to see people.

It felt like there were endless things to do every night of the week. I got pulled along to various birthday parties, a Hannukah party, and a game of pickup basketball. And I had spontaneous run-ins with people from both high school and college that I hadn’t seen in five-to-ten years. It was a whirlwind of a visit and I left feeling both energized and exhausted.

After a couple of days back in Chicago, I traveled to Scottsdale on December 26th to visit my grandparents. Highlights included going to the Musical Instrument Museum with my grandma and working out at the local YMCA with my grandpa (the photo below is unfortunately not from the day that we worked out in matching outfits).

Fortunately, my last night in town overlapped with my aunt and first cousins who traveled in from LA. We had a great dinner and I was thoroughly impressed to see 10-year-old Caleb rocking an Allen Iverson 76ers jersey.

My buddy Kyle sold me on New Year’s plans in his home state of West Virginia, so on December 30th, I flew from Phoenix to Pittsburgh to join Kyle and his friend Landon to kick off the weekend festivities.

I landed at 9pm, dropped off my bags, and met up with Kyle and Landon at a bar around the corner from our Airbnb. And then that next morning, we set out on our three-hour drive down to Thomas, West Virginia – a 500-person quaint, artsy town near the Maryland border.

We arrived in the afternoon, got settled in our Airbnb, and met up with some more of Kyle’s friends for dinner. After that, we popped over to a brewery (featuring $4 pints!) and then made our way to the main event – a New Year’s party at The Purple Fiddle, where we listened to live music (courtesy of Zach Deputy), drank some beers, caught the end of the Ohio State v. Georgia football game, and rang in the new year 🍾

On the 1st, we grabbed brunch, walked around the local art galleries (I was really impressed by The Art of Seth), went on a hike and then a jog, and ended the night at a local pizza spot. And then today, we started our day off with a cold plunge underneath a waterfall, showered and packed up our stuff, and drove back to Pittsburgh to catch our flights home.

West Virginia was beautiful and really cool to experience, and it made for a great and memorable way to kick off the new year 😊

Monthly Favorites

🎵 Song: sunburn | sun keeps on shining | broken people | parking lot view by almost monday – A couple of summer-y tunes to fight the winter blues, courtesy of almost monday 🏖️

📝 Article: Desiderata by Max Ehrmann (1927) – My friend Elliott shared this poem with me earlier this month and I’ve read it dozens of times since. It’s littered with beautifully written life reminders and with nearly every read I find myself struck by a different passage. While there are several I could highlight, I love the ending in particular:

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt, the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Thank you for reading! I’m grateful to have so many amazing people in my life – many of whom are reading this now. I appreciate you all so so much 😊

To a great year ahead,


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